Wednesday, February 26, 2014
So last night my brother Kris invited me to a "friends and family" event at the re-opening of Blackbird. Now called Blackbird kitchen + beer gallery. I love to go to these events with a critical eye. Like if I was an investor. That being said, this is my "experience".
The evening started out well enough. We arrived a little before our reserved time of 7:30. I believe that was to control a mad rush at the kitchen. We were promptly greeted with smiles and welcomes. Kris immediately ran into one of the co-owners and GM Ron. It seems anytime I'm out with my brother its like being with a Rock star. Handshakes, Hugs and Smiles, Everyone knows Kris. We asked to sit at the cool bar but Ron recommended we sit in our assigned area so they could "test" the servers. A little back story here... Part of the problem with the old Blackbird was "lackadaisical" service. To be fair, this is what I have heard. I have never experienced it. But back to now... Again, the hostess was very sweet waiting for Kris to meet and greet another co-owner Tony as we headed upstairs to our table. Shortly after we sat we were brought three card menus with one for Eats, one for Drinks and one for Beer. With an expected 50 beers on tap, the beer menu was the largest. I this these menus were made up just for the nights event. I think it would be a little cumbersome for every day menus. Kris's friend Charlie soon met up with us and we proceeded to drink the water at our table and chat. This is where the "investor"
in me comes out. Our water glasses were kept filled as we waited for over 20 minutes to have a Server say hi. Another couple next to us was waiting just as long and were trying to adjust their table from rocking. I know if I noticed it, Someone in the staff must have noticed it. But then again at this point nobody has taken our drink order.... So finally a server came our way. I believe his name was Rob. Seemed to be a great guy. He was clearly not aware we had not been helped and was apologetic. He proceeded to take our drink orders. I ordered a Ninkasi Summer Reign, Kris ordered a Ninkasi Dawn of the Red and Charlie had a Titos Mule. The drinks came promptly and tasted great. Next we ordered our Eats. Carrying over from the old Bird menu, Its is still heavily seafood based and has "raw" bar items. Our first course's were The clam chowder, fish tacos (baja style) and nachos. Everything was Perfect. The clam chowder is one of the best I've ever tasted. I thought I tasted a smokiness in the chowder so I asked the server if he knew. He didn't know but if they are smoked clams I say "well done". The fish tacos, simple and tasty. The nachos were a generous serving of pulled pork over black beans with a avocado like sour cream. Served with what must have been house made chips on the side. These nachos don't have yellow processed cheese. and you eat them with a fork! Next on to round two of drinks. I had the elusive Moonlight Brewing Death and Taxes black ale, Kris had a Ninkasi Tricearahops and another Mule for Charlie. On to the Entree. Kris ordered the seared grass fed sirloin with mussels. What a fantastic cut of meat. It was cooked perfectly. A nice salty crust on top and that beautiful grass fed flavor. Charlie got the hamburger but didn't share....it looked good....I ordered the mussels. Probably the plumpest meat I've ever had in mussels. The broth was like French onion soup. I wasnt my favorite broth but Kris sure seemed to enjoy it. So ...... That was our quick visit. What is my over all impression? I will be back! the food was "off the hook" good. I cant wait to try some more, but at the same time. I dont know how I could not order the chowder and sirloin again, Nice choice Kris. I'm sure the wait staff will get up to speed. I would have like to hear some beer and food pairings. Maybe even put it on the menu. And in a Farm to Fork town like Sacramento, I would have liked the server to know where the sirloin was from. Just my two cents.......... So, I believe the Blackbird will be singing in the dead of night for awhile this time!
Monday, July 1, 2013
Ok, So while the Handlebar is "under remodel"... Its more time to ride! I have been riding on high volume mountain bike tires for a long while now. I love them. Mostly its been Kenda Bluegroves and Nevegals. The 2.35 sized tires gave me more grip on the sketchy tech stuff. The difference between the 2.1 and the 2.35's was like adding another inch of suspension. Well now I received a gift from a friend of two new Schwalbe Hans Dampf tires. As much as I have heard how good they where, I wasn't in a hurry to remove my beloved Nevegals. They still had alot of meat on them so I thought I would just wait until they where worn out. We after getting a good amount of goat heads stuck in my rear tire I though it was a good time to switch. I only switched the rear to start with. I liked the way the "snake bite" sidewalls felt. A little stronger than the thin sidewalls on the Nevegals. They looked good with a slightly rounder profile than the Nevegals.
to 36psi. Ready to hit Connector trail and Forest Hill Divide Loop the next morning. Off on the trail I go, the trail was in great shape, slightly loose in spots, but overall good. On the first climb I noticed a noise that made me look down as if I had a flat, It was that "grippy" sound. No flat ... just grip, Nice. Next a nice little downhill section,Hmmmm... feeling pretty good.. "pong!"the side knobs brush off a boulder but the rear end stayed true to the line, Very nice. almost no deflection. My old tires would bounce off those things. High speed corner and accel out,.... Again, very nice. Its like going from the old single pawl rear hubs to multi pawl hubs, I just seems to "hook up" faster. I swear the whole rear end just felt stiffer but the suspension was working better than ever! I set several PR's on the trail that day and I wasn't even trying to push. I was the most comfortable I have been on the bike ever sense I got it. I give these tires two thumbs up!